Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Special Trip to the Zoo

We like to go to the zoo. We like watching the animals. We like the plants. And Ward likes the gift shops. We like to visit them wherever we're traveling as we did in Philadelphia last month. Recently we went to another zoo--the National Zoo in Washington, DC. We had been there before but not for many years. The last time we went was when Wally and Theo ran from exhibit to exhibit and climbed all of the animal statues.
Mischievous Lucy
This time, Ward and I went with a grownup Theo, and besides enjoying the various large and small animals, we got a behind the scenes tour of the large ape house (orangutans and gorillas), courtesy of Eddie, my nephew who is a keeper there. He took us for a private tour at the back of the exhibits where he told us about the general traits of the apes, and we got to individually meet each of them.
Baraka, the very laid-back silverback
And what a group they were. There was the very laid back silverback gorilla who only got excited when he thought he might be able to steal a piece of fruit from one of the females. (By the way, silverback means no more than the gorilla has reached full maturity. Before that, their back is black.) There was the orangutan, Lucy, who filled her mouth with water when our back was turned and was ready to spray it on us just for fun and a bit of showing off. Fortunately, we moved on before she got a chance. There was a very cute orangutan that pulled a sheet around herself and was playing hide and seek with us. (The orangutans make a nest in hay at night and then they like to pull a sheet or blanket over themselves while they sleep.)
Then there was the very mischievous teenage male gorilla who waited until our backs were turned and made a very loud sound hitting a metal door. It had the exact effect he was looking for because we all jumped. Then once he had our attention, he ran large barrels into the sides of the enclosure making very loud sounds. Eddie told us that he was showing off for our benefit. Some how that just seemed right for a teenage boy.

I could go on and on because this was one of the most interesting things I have done for a long while. But I'll save some of it for Part 2. Stay tuned.

Kwame. He and his brother Kojo were the male, showoff teens.
Pictures courtesy of the National Zoo website. None of my pictures turned out very well because of the lighting.